11/17/2003 1:00AM

After winning first two, Dutchie ready to step up


CHICAGO - Dutchie's connections decided to skip the Hawthorne Oaks last Saturday and wait for an easier race - they didn't wait long.

Dutchie was one of 12 horses entered in Hawthorne's featured ninth race Wednesday, a second-level filly-and-mare allowance at 1 1/16 miles on the main track. Dutchie is an Illinois-bred with only two lifetime starts, but she has aroused interest by winning those starts and displaying obvious talent.

Dutchie needs to move forward Wednesday to successfully negotiate the switch from statebred to open company, but there's reason to believe she can. After more than a year's worth of delays from various physical problems, Dutchie finally made the races Oct. 8, winning a maiden sprint by more than eight lengths. She returned 16 days later in an allowance route and was all out to hold off a filly named Buttercup Express by a neck. Buttercup Express returned with a dull performance Sunday, but Dutchie should be going the other way.

Dutchie's trainer, Michelle Boyce, has long appreciated Dutchie's raw ability, and Boyce's ultra-patient approach has gotten Dutchie this far. Boyce expected Dutchie to win her second start on talent, and said she trained her very lightly for the race.

"She didn't even breeze between starts," Boyce said. "She wasn't as tight as she could have been."

This time, Dutchie, who races in ear mufflers to check her high-strung nature, has worked twice, including a bullet five-furlong breeze Nov. 10. She should run well, but Jadester is the pick to hand Dutchie her first loss. Jadester comes off three straight grass races and may be a better horse on dirt. Jadester has post 1 and the right running style to stalk a contested pace while saving ground.

Win propels Beautiful Crazy's career

Beautiful Crazy, the upset winner of the Hawthorne Oaks, "is just getting started," according to trainer Wayne Catalano, and is almost certain to run again this year. Cloakof Vagueness, whom Beautiful Crazy beat by a head here Saturday, is done for the season and is likely to resurface at Oaklawn Park, said trainer Blackie Huffman.

Beautiful Crazy ran the race of her life in the Oaks, paying $75.40 to win as the longest price in the field. She entered the race eligible for a second-level allowance, with the appearance of a filly that preferred turf to dirt, but ran to her training, Catalano said.

Catalano was uncertain Monday where Beautiful Crazy would start next, or even which surface she would race on.

"We'll see what kind of [speed figure] she gets," he said. "We bought her off a grass number, so we'll see what she gets on dirt."

Miner's Gamble snaps 15-race losing streak

It was fair to begin wondering if Miner's Gamble would ever win again. A high-class turf sprinter in 2000, Miner's Gamble won the $50,000 Taylor's Special at Arlington in October 2001, but in 15 subsequent starts he could do no better than second. Sunday at Hawthorne he finally broke through, scoring a narrow win over Only You in the $40,000 Prompt Angel Stakes.

"He's been a hard-luck horse," said trainer Dennis Ebert. "He's a one-run sprinter, and he's always getting fanned out five or six wide. He's always right there, but in a five-eighths race, he ends up running five and a half."

Miner's Gamble was six wide Sunday in a five-furlong turf sprint, but this time it didn't matter. He got his nose in front at the finish, ending his dry spell.